Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Logic of English - Lesson One

Hoo Boy!  This is a well laid out program but the first day of any program always takes forever. 11yo is easily distracted but once she discovers the pattern of the lessons it will be much smoother.  Ditto for me too.  Thankfully today's information wasn't new to either of us.  We knew the phonograms A-Z from using All About Spelling (AAS) and the grammar from Rod & Staff English.

The phonograms are a little different from what we learned in AAS.  "I" and "U" have one extra sound and "O" has one less.  We (okay I) decided to stick with four for "O."

The lessons will be longer than AAS even when we get the hang of things and move through them more quickly.  I may need to split up the lessons into two or three sessions during the day.  AAS lessons are typically 20 minutes while the suggestion for "struggling readers and spellers" in LOE is 75-130 minutes per lesson.   Of course that includes grammar and some composition.

Having only had LOE for several days I think a pro is being able to see the big picture.  The advantage of All About Spelling is the gentleness of the approach.  Both programs are excellent in my opinion.

Friday, April 26, 2013

April 22 - 26

I am amazed that we are coming up on the end of the school year.  Where have the days gone?

The teens are spending a couple of days a week at play rehearsals (Twelfth Night).  They also have participated in several dissections in their Biology class recently.  This week was the frog.

Grammar - We've been learning about adjectives this week.  The plan is to skip the last unit of R&S English 3.  Those lessons will be reviewed in R&S 4.  That means we only have a dozen lessons to go.

Math Mammoth - We are trucking along in 3A.  She is reviewing math from a different angle.  We've worked through approximately 60 pages.  We started order of operations today.

Lively Latin - We should finish lesson 4 soon (conjugating verbs).  We'll spend the summer learning the next few vocabulary lists so when we come back to it in autumn we'll be prepared to easily move through the lessons (16 total).

Classical Studies/Greek Myths - Wow!  We are so close to the end.  Only four more lessons plus a review. Theseus has killed the Minotaur and Icarus has fallen into the sea.

Christian Studies - Studied the story of Jacob and Esau this week.  I hope we can wrap up all of the Joseph related lessons before we break for summer.

Geography I - Lebanon.  I would like to finish the Middle East countries and start with North Africa in the fall.

Science - We finished the unit on stars in R&S 4 (Orion, Gemini, Bootes, Leo, Cygnus, Hercules, Cassiopeia, and Pegasus).   Health and disease is next.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

All About Spelling 1 and 2

warning: another spelling post ;)

All About Spelling

Okay, spelling for 11yo isn't going as easily as I would like.  I feel like it is my fault for not actually reading through the lessons or following the plan as laid out in the book.  I am learning that I can't rely on visual and auditory alone.  It worked for me, but she needs more.

This is what worked in level one:

  • she would practice the phonograms using the CD
  • I dictated the words and she spelled them on the dry erase board

Here is what I hit upon today and it seemed to work well:

  • showed her the word card and pronounced for spelling
  • she clapped the syllables
  • she spelled each syllable using the letter tiles
  • on her own she decided to mark the vowels as long or short according to if the syllable was open or closed
  • she pushed the tiles together and pronounced for spelling
  • she wrote the word above the tiles while saying each individual sound

A real stumbling block is our relaxed pronunciation of words.  I believe using different modes of learning (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) will be powerful, however I think pronouncing for spelling will be essential for her success.

As the teacher I am now convinced that skimming the lesson won't work anymore.  I need to read the lesson and actually follow the suggested steps.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Better Over Best

Earlier this week I was trying to track down some Latin game cards I had seen recently.  I could NOT find them no matter how many piles I searched through.  What I did find was a lot of papers that could be recycled.  That's what I started out doing today.  It morphed into moving currently unused curriculum so I can have room for what I'm using now.  And then, I started to evaluate curriculum.  "Am I really going to used this?"  Oh boy!  Such tough decisions.  Perfectly good stuff going on the mental chopping block.  I will probably only have one child at home next year and it is time to let go of items that won't work for her.  Time to choose better over best.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Slowing down

Sometimes homeschooling just feels like a slog.  You want to accomplish a certain amount each day but the child's brain can only handle so much information.  Slow, then slower, then really slow.  It feels like we're trudging through mud rather than skipping along the yellow brick road.  Can I blame my "check list" mentality again?

Spelling - My goal was to make it through AAS 2 and 3 by the end of next school year.  We were moving along and then we hit a group of words which she naturally mispronounces (mixes short i's and e's).  Instead of calling out the word and having her spell it on the dry erase board while sounding out each phonogram, we've added in the visual aspect for reinforcement.  I show her the word on a flash card, say it for spelling (emphasizing the correct sounds), have her pronounce for spelling, and only then does she get to attempt it on a board.

until - 11yo pronounces it  "un tell"
I show her the flashcard and pronounce the word overemphasizing the short i sound in "til"

dentist - I actually pronounce this as "dintest,"  I know, weird, huh?
Again, I have to pronounce for spelling.  I never realized my pronunciation was so poor.

We'll probably spend all week on this spelling list which means we will be behind where I would like to be.  In order for her to truly learn these spelling words, we have to move at her pace.

reminder: It's not above covering the material, it IS about learning it.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

THE Dress!

17yo was asked to attend the local modest prom at our church.  She decided to make her own dress rather than spend hours and hours searching in stores.

Pros - Mom didn't have to come unglued driving in the big city, our feet don't hurt, and 17yo's ego hasn't been bruised by all of those dresses that didn't fit.

Con - twas the night before prom and 17yo is still sitting at the sewing machine.  She will most likely be up until the wee hours of the night and possibly be so tired tomorrow that she might not enjoy her first date.

edited to add:  She had a great time!

Frog closures she made

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Education vs. Checklists

I did it again.  I spent the day making elaborate checklists for school next week and then I realized that following those checklists was going to suck the joy out of learning.  When will I learn?  Education isn't about making our way through a certain number of books in a school year, it is about savoring knowledge and using that knowledge to better our own life and the lives of those around us.

As others have said:   It is a marathon not a race.

We need to have goals.  We need to progress towards those goals.  But, if we dash toward the goals we will miss the journey.

Deep breath.  Try again.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Twas the week after spring break and...

...I am pooped!  I have been so tired this week. Seriously sleep deprived.

As far as school we had a productive week.  I'm proud of myself for being more consistent than I naturally want to be.
  • We did math, spelling, grammar, and Latin every day.
  • We finished AAS 1 (All About Spelling) and started AAS 2.
  • Started Math Mammoth
  • We did ancient history, geography, and science four days.
  • Greek Myths and Christian Studies once
  • We had two writing lessons.

FMI ("for my information"):

Reading - working on clear pronunciation.  We picked a passage/page which she read daily.  She tends to be "lazy" due to a stuffy nose and tongue that tires quickly.

Math - started Math Mammoth 3A.  She was halfway through Rod & Staff Math 4.  MM 3A starts with mental math and it has been work.  Glad I didn't try to start her in level 4.  The Puzzle Corners are kicking our butts (notice that is plural because they are kicking my behind too).

Spelling - started AAS 2 today.  She seems to really enjoy this program ... specifically the tiles and writing on the dry erase board.  Is this kid kinesthetic? Probably.

Grammar - direct objects.  She still gets confused about what a verb is, so we have to review the terms every day.  It can make for a long lesson but she needs the review.  We have finished 70 lessons.  We will be skipping 10-15 lessons which I know will be repeated in R&S 4.   Since I was the kid who didn't understand grammar at all when I was her age, I don't mind that she is working a couple of years "behind."

Composition - Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales.  This is such a charming little lesson book from IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing).  We've done several lessons and will be taking a quick detour to SWI A to cover the same information (Units 1&2).

Latin - LOVE Lively Latin!  This is the second child I've used Big Book 1 with and I am enjoying it even more than I did last time.  I love hearing my sweet girl chanting Latin.  BTW, we use the ecclesiastical pronunciations.

Classical Studies - we read about King Midas and Sisyphus in D'Aulaires' Greek Myths and Numa Pompilius in Lively Latin and Famous Men of Rome.  Looking through and planning Famous Men of the Middle Ages for next school year.

Christian Studies - the one subject I feel relaxed about.  This week we read about Abram, Sarai, Lot, and the Abrahamic Covenant.  The plan is to cover Christian Studies I-III over the next few years in preparation for early morning seminary when she turns 14.  One lesson a week is perfect.

History - read, did map work, and colored pictures for two chapters (first writing, Old Kingdom in Egypt) in Story of the World (Ancient Times). We own the SOTW volume 1 CD's so 11yo is familiar with these stories.  I would like to finish Ancients and then read Volume 2 (The Middle Ages) along with Famous Men of the Middle Ages next year.  I would love to work through The Human Odyssey with her but she isn't ready for it.

Geography - Geography I from Memoria Press is sitting in the wings.

Science - I enjoy the younger levels of Rod & Staff Science so I couldn't pass up R&S Science 3.  We finished it last week and 11yo has proven that she was ready for R&S Science 4.  In one week we completed the first unit which was about weather.  If we finish before summer that would be great!

Art/Music - Um... no plan.  I'll wait until fall/autumn to worry about it.  Whatever we do we will most likely use Core Knowledge materials.

Literature - Memoria Press Literature Grade 5 is another "in the works for fall" subject. It looks like it will be large addition to our day.  Now is not the time.

My overall goal at this time is to be consistent and progress.  As I look at Memoria Press's curriculum packages, it helps give me goals to strive toward.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Always Tweaking

How other homeschooling moms can make a plan and stick to it is beyond me.  I am constantly tweaking.

The biggest change this week... we are trying Math Mammoth.  The co-op sale ended April 1st and I was able to download the books last night.  The layout is quite different from Rod & Staff, so it took dd a little longer to do her math this morning than I had hoped.  I'm sure things will speed up when she has the experience of a few lessons behind her.

Classical Studies (Memoria Press) - We've been stalled out on D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths forever.  11yo loves the book but it seems to get shoved to the back burner behind the 3r's.  I bought the audio book read by Paul Newman, Sydney Poitier, Kathleen Turner, and Matthew Broderick.  I'm not quite as in love with it as I thought I might be, but it was nice today to not have to struggle through all of those Greek names.  Eleven more lessons and reviews and I'll let 11yo love the book without studying it.

Famous Men of Rome is scheduled for fourth grade.  Many of the stories are part of history in Lively Latin, so I'm going to let that suffice and move on.

I received Famous Men of the Middle Ages Monday.  It is part of MP's 5th grade package.  The plan is to prep ourselves using library books over the summer and start the guide in the fall.  I already picked up Medieval Feast by Aliki.

Literature (Memoria Press) - I also ordered the 5th grade literature set too.  I have no idea how it is going to get crammed in as we have trouble getting around to everything already.  The order is: Adam of the Road, Robin Hood (Green), King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table (Green), and The Door in the Wall.

Science - We retired Rod & Staff 3 and have moved into R&S 4.  I hope I don't overwhelm her, but I'm going to try and move through it before summer is in full swing.